Mulching like a pro involves 4 easy to follow steps which we will cover here.
It’s true, a mulched landscape can really make a huge difference.,
And armed with this brief guide, you will be able to perfect the art of mulching your landscape!
Below you will learn all about:
- The different types of mulch,
- How to calculate your garden bed square footage,
- How deep you need to mulch,
- Finally how to calculate exactly how much mulch you need.
Choosing the Type of Mulch You Will Use
It's true, there are so many types of mulch you can choose from. And each one will offer different benefits, and drawbacks.
There are three main types of organic mulch;
- Wood chips,
- And other organic mulches.
Let’s break them down!
Wood Chip Mulch
Woodchip mulch is likely the most popular type of mulch that there is. It looks great in garden beds, keeps back weeds, and it’s very affordable.
There are a few types of wooden mulch too, these include:
- Pine Bark Chips/nuggets,
- Cedar Mulch,
- Dyed or undyed wood chips.
Dyed wood chips are likely the most commonly used mulching material in most parts of the US. And overall, most wood chip mulches offer the same protections.
Pro Tip: Cedar mulch has the added benefit of repealing fleas and other insects! So it may be the best choice for homeowners.
Important note on measuring mulch: When it comes to purchasing wood chip mulches you can purchase it bagged or in bulk. In general most bags of mulch contain 2 cubic feet of material.
No doubt about it, stone mulch can be gorgeous!
Best of all, when it is properly maintained, it can last for many years.
However, there are some drawbacks to stone mulch: it is generally much more expensive, and harder to spread. Additionally, stone mulch can get in the way when you are installing new plants, or altering your garden.
Important note on measuring mulch: Stone can be purchased in bulk or by the bag. Most bags of mulch contain roughly .5 cubic feet per bag.
Other Organic Mulches
There are so many other organic mulches that we couldn’t possibly name them all here.
Some of the most popular mulches that fit in this category include:
And Grass clippings.
Among these, the most popular option is likely pine straw.
Important note on measuring mulch: Pine straw is cheap and purchased in bales which contain about 6 cubic feet of pine straw.
Now that you know what mulch you will use, lets find out how much you need!
How to Calculate Your Garden Bed Square Footage
The first step to finding out how much mulch you will need, is to calculate the square footage of your garden beds.
Calculating the square footage of your garden beds can vary on the shape of the bed.
Square and Rectangular Beds
Calculating square footage in square and rectangular beds is easy.
Simply measure the length by the width. And that's it!
For Example: if a bed is 14’ x 2 feet, multiply 14 x 2 which gives you 28 square feet.
Triangular garden bed square footage can be calculated by multiplying the base by the height of the triangle, and then dividing by 2.
For example: if the base is 7, and the height is 7, multiply the base by the height, which gives you 49. Then divide by 2. Which leaves you with 24.5 square feet.
Finally to calculate the square footage of a circular garden bed you will need to measure the radius of the circle, square it and multiply that number by π.
For example: if the radius of the circle is 3, you will multiply that number by itself which gives you 9. Now multiply 9 by π (3.14159) and you are left with 28.2 square feet.
How Deep You Need to Mulch
Now you need to figure out how deep you want to mulch.
How deep you should mulch depends on a few factors.
In general 3 inches is perfect, but add accordingly if the following factors apply:
Area prone to drought: +1-2 inches
Lots of weeds: +2-4 inches
New, never mulched bed: +2 inches
Warning! Never exceed 8 inches of mulch as this could cause a fire.
How to Calculate How Much Mulch to Order
Now that you have the square footage of your lawn, total them up.
In the example in the infographic we need 140 square feet of mulch. Now we need to calculate how many cubic feet we need by multiplying by the depth in feet.
For example: a 140 square foot garden bed mulched at 3 inches deep will need 35 cubic feet of mulch material. If you are using wooden mulch which is packaged in 2 cubic feet, you will need 17.5 bags of mulch.
Important note on measuring mulch: there are 27 Cubic feet in one cubic yard.
The Bottom Line On Mulching Like A Pro
Mulch has a lot of great benefits, and calculating the amount of mulch you need properly is the first step to creating an amazing landscape.
If you found this guide useful be sure to share it with your friends and family so you can all have an excellent yard!
For the complete infographic go here to our How To Measure How Much Mulch You Need Infographic.
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